CAMBRIDGE City Council has launched a public consultation on proposals to extend the current Dog Control Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Cambridge for an additional three years.
The current PSPO has been in place since 2020 and sets out a clear standard of behaviour which all dog owners are required to follow. It also enables the council to take enforcement action against those who don’t – this includes issuing a current fixed penalty fine of £75 in place of prosecution.
The purpose of the PSPO is to enable the community to address specific dog control issues in the city’s public spaces, such as dog fouling in parks or allowing a dog to enter children’s play areas. It is not intended to unduly restrict dog owners from responsibly exercising their dogs across the city.
The proposed three year extension of the PSPO was approved for public consultation at Environment and Scrutiny Committee in January 2023 and included the following variations:
- Introducing a requirement for dogs to be on leads in marked sports pitches at Coldham’s Common – this comes after reports of aggressive dogs and dogs straying without owner control
- Introducing a requirement for dogs to be kept on leads during bird nesting season (1 March to 31 July) in Local Nature Reserves (Barnwell West, Barnwell East, Bramblefields, Limekiln Pit, Logan’s Meadow, Paradise and West Pit), as well as sites with nesting birds at Hobson Park and Mill Road Cemetery, to help protect wildlife
- Introducing a requirement for dog owners and dog walkers to always carry a means to pick up dog faeces across the whole of the city in a bid to reduce dog fouling. When walking and exercising a dog, people must be able to produce the relevant items when requested to do by an authorised officer.
Cllr Alex Collis, Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Food Justice, and Community Development said: “There have been some unfortunate incidents in the news lately, where we have seen what can happen when owners do not take responsibility for their dogs. This is an opportunity for all residents to have a say on the future of the Dog Control PSPO so that we can ensure that everyone can feel safe.
“Since its introduction in 2017, the PSPO has been a tool to help us manage the way our open spaces are used by dog owners. Whilst we know that the vast majority of dog owners are responsible, there is still a minority who aren’t.
“The proposals aim to respond to the complaints and concerns of residents who have told us they have not had a positive experience in our public spaces because of the irresponsible behaviours of some dog owners.
“I encourage all residents to have their say on how we can continue to manage our open spaces so everyone can continue to enjoy them, including wildlife, and so that appropriate action can be taken by our officers when necessary.”
The public consultation will close on 31 March 2023 and the outcomes and any resulting proposed amendments to the PSPO will be reported back to the Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee in June 2023.